U.S. President Donald Trump said he would withdraw U.S. backing for a treaty that sought to regulate the global trade in small arms and other conventional weaponry.
Trump made the announcement on April 26 at a convention of the most influential U.S. gun rights organization, the National Rifle Association, which had asserted the 2014 treaty posed a threat to gun rights.
The Arms Trade Treaty regulates international trade in conventional weapons, such as small weaponry and hand-held guns. It also regulates the purchase and sale of things like tanks, combat aircraft, and warships.
The treaty has been formally joined by 101 nations, and signed but not yet ratified by 29, including the United States. Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, signed it in 2013 but it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate.
A spokesman for the United Nations, Stephane Dujarric, defended the treaty, saying it is "a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers."
He added that the treaty "is the only global instrument aimed at improving transparency and accountability in the international arms trade."
Trump told the National Rifle Association convention that America was "rejecting this treaty."
"We're taking our signature back," he said.
The United States is the world's largest arms exporter.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has undone or rolled back other major international agreements, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to reduce global carbon emissions that scientists link to harmful climate change.
Last year, Trump pulled the United States out of deal with Iran that eased sanctions in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limits being placed on its nuclear activities.